ANAHEIM, CA -- An early goal coupled with a brilliant performance from netminder Cam Talbot culminated in a 2-1 win on Friday night for the Oilers in Anaheim. The win gives the visitors a 2-0 series lead with the scene shifting back to Rogers Place for Game 3 and 4 on Sunday and Wednesday.
"The one wearing the big pads was our hero tonight. He had a tremendous game," said Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.
"What it did was take the energy out of the building for a little while which certainly helped us. The first 10 minutes, the rhythm worked our way too," McLellan continued. "They were the better team after that."
It nearly became a 2-0 game when Adam Larsson's redirection in front just narrowly missed the net. Milan Lucic then threw the puck towards the crease where it sat near the goal line before the referee blew the whistle.
Midway through the first, McDavid tried to split the Ducks defence but Josh Manson held him up and then shoved the Oilers captain into the post. Manson got two minutes for holding, sending Edmonton to the power play for the first time but the Oilers were unable to accomplish much with the man advantage.
With 2:49 to go in the first, Edmonton looked to have gone up by two when Zack Kassian picked up a rebound and fired it past a down-and-out Gibson but the ruling on the ice was that Mark Letestu caused interference in front which knocked the Ducks skater into his own netminder. End result was a Ducks power play with Letestu in the box.
The story of the first period was Cam Talbot, who made a number of excellent saves with Anaheim carrying the majority of the play. Shots on goal after one were 12-3 for the Ducks.
"You have to give the opposition credit," stated Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Their goaltender played well and got to see a lot of pucks. In the first period alone, we had Cogliano in alone, Kesler in alone and Getzlaf he had to make a big pad save on. He made those stops. We didn't exert enough of our will to get to the front of the net and force him to stay deeper in his net."
Seven minutes into the second, the Oilers extended their lead to 2-0 with 17 seconds left on a penalty to Korbinian Holzer. Jordan Eberle skated the puck in from the point and threw it in front where the puck redirected in off the skate of Patrick Maroon.
McLellan was happy with how the power play generated chances on this night.
"We certainly weren't clean but I think we generated eight or nine shots on goal on the power play. We went from being a little bit frustrated to scoring an important goal. It allowed us to stretch things out a little," he began.
"Their push didn't come quicker because of it."
Edmonton opened the second with a lot of momentum, outshooting the Ducks 6-2 after being outshot soundly in the opening frame but Anaheim stole that momentum back through the latter half of the middle stanza.
Jakob Silfverberg's shot from the right circle beat Talbot blocker side to draw the home team within a goal on a power play marker with less than five minutes to play in the second.
"I was happy with our effort but I didn't think we had enough net presence on the goaltender," stated Carlyle. "Talbot got to see too many pucks. I think we missed the net 26 times - 26 attempts missed. The ugly goals are more that type of goal that's being scored with a tip, a screen or a rebound."
After two, shots were 24-12 for the Ducks.
The Ducks threw everything they could at the Oilers in the third period. They had peppered 14 shots on Talbot through the first 11 minutes, including a blast from the point by Cam Fowler which beat the Oilers netminder through the legs but on the other side it hit the post.
"You have you find ways to win these kinds of games," McLellan said. "We know we have to be better and we'll have to find ways to do it."
McLellan added that he expects a better overall effort from his squad Sunday at home.
"It doesn't matter if the city's going crazy, if we come home and play like that we know we won't have success. Our players are looking forward to getting back to Rogers Place and know the Orange Crush will be behind us. Edmonton should be enjoying it."
NOTES: Drake Caggiula fell awkwardly after driving to the net early in the second period and skated off the ice in pain. He did not return but Coach McLellan said after the game that he was fine.